My whole reason for going to Spain came up because last year after my Scandinavian trip I realized I had been to 29 countries and I had happened to just turned 29. While I have never been an obsessive country counter, I thought it would be fun to try and squeeze in a 30th country before my 30th birthday. I had lots of different ideas of where to go but after discussing with trusty travel buddy, Sarah, and finding a well priced plane ticket, Spain ended up being the country of choice and then we decided to go to Madrid.
I won’t lie to you, I don’t have a lot of photos from Madrid. The reason why is one of the things I ended up liking about Madrid the most which is that it just was.
I’m not saying it’s not a beautiful city, even by European standards I still found it full of charm. However, unlike Paris or London, there aren’t any giant iconic landmarks or “things to see before you die.” I honestly did not even have any idea what Madrid was supposed to look like before I started researching for this trip, and I enjoyed the freedom that gave me to explore the city with no expectations.
One thing I knew I wanted to do after watching my favorite YouTubers Kara and Nate do them several times, was a food tour. And my first ever food tour with Native Spanish Tapas, which made for a tasty (and informative) evening, cemented Madrid as one of my favorite culinary destinations (although the previous days of eating mostly fried and cheese based foods might have also played a part). After a few tapas stops and a historical walk through town, in the true Spanish style, we didn’t even sit down for a paella and sangria dinner until 10pm. When in Rome…er…Madrid.
Otherwise, most of our time in Madrid was spent with us mostly walking around and exploring various neighborhoods, while keeping to a very lose itinerary involving things like ending up at Chocolateria San Gines for churros or hitting up the Reina Sofia art museum during the free evening hours to confirm that Picasso’s art is indeed completely bonkers.
When booking this trip, a lot of people kept telling me to go to Barcelona over Madrid. And while one day I would love to see Barcelona, I don’t quite understand why everyone seems to gloss over Madrid. Quick and easy to navigate, tapas bars and cheap sangria around every corner, land of the churros, and European charm without the usual European price tag, Madrid easily earned a spot as a place I plan to return to.
And now, having turned 30 last week, another decade of my life has come to an end, but I’m excited to see where in the world the next one takes me.